Shiny Surendran is the first Olympic Council certified Sports Nutritionist in India who specialised in sport, preventive nutrition and weight management. She opines that being healthy and fit isn’t just a choice now but a lifestyle. In an exclusive interview with The Bridge, Surendran mentioned,
“During this period, our main approach should be boosting our immunity and eating healthy, which will really help us to fight this virus.”
If we listen to anyone about being healthy and boosting immunity during the pandemic, perhaps it should be Surendran. Chennai-based Shiny has a vast experience as a lecturer in sports nutrition at Sri Ramachandra University for 8 years. She started her journey of being sports nutritionist in 2003, under Dr. Kannan Pugazhendhi in YMCA college of Physical Education.
Chennai-based Shiny has a vast experience as a lecturer in sports nutrition at Sri Ramachandra University for 8 years. (Image: Shiny Surendran/Facebook)
“I worked in Bengaluru as a corporate consultant before but when I joined YMCA college of physical education, I found my goal in life. Since then I am working in this field for almost 20 years and I am really enjoying it.”
So, now the question is how do we boost our immunity? Surendran is reluctant to suggest that we can only “boost” our immune system through healthy living and says that “we can raise our personal protection in many ways.” Here she tackles the big questions about protecting ourselves from the Pandemic and also shared some tips to be healthy.
Will taking Vitamin C help?
“It’s certain that Vitamin C plays a key role in immunity and that a deficiency of it can lead to a higher susceptibility of a virus or an infection. So, if you eat fruit (Lemon, orange, guava, strawberries, black grapes and kiwi) and Vegetable (Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, papaya, green bell pepper, tomatoes, sweet potato, coriander and sprouts), vitamin C is practically unavoidable. When we are ill our immune cells need more amount of vitamin C to fight an infection or virus, so consuming more will be helpful in reducing the severity. Amla has the highest amount of vitamin C, than any other fruit and vegetable. So, consuming an amla per day is highly recommended. Most importantly, you have to consume it fresh and make sure that it doesn’t get oxidize.
Vitamin C (Image: webmd)
Also, if you do a lot of exercise it is worth taking vitamin C, cause it tend to make a stronger effect on people who does intensive workout.
There is another aspect of vitamin C, that high intakes of it can cause gastrointestinal problem in some people. So, if they can not have supplements, citric fruit and amla then vegetable is the option. Which is also a good source of vitamin C.”
Can zinc supplements help us during this period?
“Zinc is an essential mineral that is required by cell in the body and it is really important for the development and function of cells, which are involved in immunity. In our body mechanism daily intake of zinc is required cause it is not stored. You can definitely fond it in a range of foods, including meat, milk, eggs, fish, chickpeas, baked beans and pumpkin seeds.
Regarding taking zinc supplements, it definitely can act like a protective mechanism. Zinc is a part of whole lot of enzyme and it also helps in prevent the infection. As an example, after marathon run or triathlon is over for the next one week zinc supplements are given with vitamin C and lot of minerals cause the susceptibility of catching an infection is so high. But if there is any medical condition, it is always okay to check with your physician. Medical condition such as renal issues, also regarding geriatric people it is always better to consult with the physician.”
What is clean eating and how it can help us?
Basically, clean eating means consumption of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. So make sure your plate has a whole variety. If you divide your plate in half, one should be filled with seeds and vegetable and the other half is filled with whole grain food and lean proteins.
If it continues we might face food crisis, so during that time we need to be depend on the clean eating, which is more of rice, roti, vegetable and lentils.”
Should I stop worrying about Corona-virus?
“Worrying definitely makes us more susceptible to infection, and stress has a known dampening effect on our immunity. Nowadays, many people are concerned about the spread of the virus, and the best thing we can do is to take a step back and remove some of the pressure.
We definitely can reduce the effects of stress, which will help in improving our protection level. To deviate our attention we can do small and regular practice of things like meditation, yoga, reading and try cooking different recipes- any steps that you find will help to put your mind at ease.”